By Imperial Road Safety
Let’s face it, a lot of South Africans walk to work every day for a number of reasons. The sad reality is that according to the Automobile Association, South Africa is above the global average when it comes to road deaths, with pedestrians making up a large number of these fatalities – in fact, 40 per cent of all road deaths, shocking isn’t it?
Naturally we would blame reckless driving by motorists for these fatalities however, it’s important for us to also reflect on the road safety behaviours of pedestrians as this is a major contributing factor. Think of things such as texting and walking, crossing the road at a dangerous intersection, or simply not watching where they are walking. In fact, a new law being implemented in Honolulu in the United States, brings this concern to the fore – where pedestrians are being banned from using their cell phones and other electronic devices while crossing the street, which can result in a fine of up to $35.
Considering the fact that South Africans are still in winter – which can pose a number of additional dangers for pedestrians when commuting to and from work daily, let’s look at a few road safety tips for pedestrians to keep themselves safe while on the roads:
- Remember the adage; look right, look left and look right again before crossing the street? Keep this on top of your mind while using the roads to help ensure that you have a clear view of road activities around you.
- Stick to the basic road rules such as; use the nearest zebra crossing when crossing the street, walk on the sidewalk, make use of traffic signals provided by officers and at traffic lights, and walk on the side of the road that is facing oncoming traffic.
- When commuting during winter months, its much darker than usual, and in some areas, winter rain is a norm. As such, if you must walk in the dark, ensure that you are wearing reflective clothing to ensure that you are always visible during these winter conditions.
- Don’t text and walk! This is something that a lot of us are guilty for. This kind of distraction means that you won’t see oncoming cars on the roads. Should you be walking home with your children, this kind of distraction is dangerous as you might not notice if they wander off unattended. Therefore, when commuting home with your children, remember to always obey all the road safety rules – education around road safety starts at home, so it is important to be a good example.
- To add to the above, listening to music and having earphones on, can also pose to have dangerous consequences, as this can prevent you from hearing any possible oncoming traffic.
With this in mind it’s evident that responsible road safety does not only apply to motorists, but to pedestrians too who need to obey to the rules of the road. This is especially important in our attempts to decrease the number of pedestrian deaths on the South African roads. Next time you are on the roads, be an example and encourage your children to understand the importance of pedestrian safety and the rules of the road when walking to and from school.